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Current Evidence on Non-caloric Sweeteners and their Health Implications

Current Evidence on Non-caloric Sweeteners and their Health Implications

Monday, November 16, 2015

The New York Academy of Sciences

Presented By


We call them low-calorie, non-nutritive, artificial, and intense sweeteners; these sugar substitutes serve as a non-caloric alternative to sucrose or table sugar. Reducing the number of calories in sweetened foods and beverages, they are used with the goal of achieving weight loss or controlling body weight. What does the most recent science tell us? This evening event will unpack current scientific research from multiple disciplines, regarding the effect of non-caloric sweeteners currently approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use in foods and beverages in the United States, on weight management and health.

*Reception to follow.


Kiyah Duffey, PhD

Virginia Tech

Gary D. Foster, PhD

Weight Watchers International, Inc.

John Glendinning, PhD

Barnard College

Rick Mattes, PhD, MPH, RD

Purdue University

Registration Pricing

Member (Student / Postdoc / Resident / Fellow)$10
Nonmember (Student / Postdoc / Resident / Fellow)$15

Presented by

PepsiCo Global Research and Development


  • NYAS
  • Sackler


* Presentation titles and times are subject to change.

November 16, 2015

6:00 PM

Registration and Arrival

6:30 PM

Welcome Remarks
The Sackler Institute for Nutrition Science

6:40 PM

Taste Receptors and Taste Preferences – Can we use the mouse model to understand the Role Non-caloric Sweeteners Play in Human Health?
John Glendinning, PhD, Barnard College

7:10 PM

Non-caloric Sweeteners in Context of the Whole Diet: Effects on Reward Pathways and Body Weight
Rick Mattes, PhD, MPH, RD, Purdue University

7:40 PM

Non-caloric Sweeteners in Weight loss and Weight-Loss Maintenance when Substituted for Caloric Sweeteners
Gary D. Foster, Ph.D, Weight Watchers International, Inc

8:10 PM

Panel Discussion
Panel Moderator: Kiyah Duffey, PhD, Virginia Tech
John Glendinning, PhD, Barnard College
Rick Mattes, PhD, MPH, RD, Purdue University
Gary D. Foster, Ph.D, Weight Watchers International, Inc.

8:30 PM

Closing Remarks
Richard Black, PhD, PepsiCo

8:30 PM

Networking Reception

9:00 PM

Conference Adjourns



Catherine Cioffi, RD

Formerly PepsiCo, Inc., now Laney Graduate School, Emory University

Danielle Greenberg, PhD, FACN

PepsiCo, Inc.

Mireille Mclean, MA, MPH

The Sackler Institute for Nutrition Science

Julie Shlisky, PhD

The Sackler Institute for Nutrition Science

F. Xavier Pi-Sunyer, MD

Columbia University

Barry Popkin, PhD

The University of North Carolina Chapel Hill


Kiyah Duffey, PhD

Virginia Tech

Kiyah is Director of Global Scientific Affairs with LA Sutherland group and adjunct faculty in the department of Human Nutrition, Foods and Exercise at Virginia Tech. Kiyah’s research has focused on understanding the determinants of dietary intake and the long-term associations between dietary intake patterns, obesity, cardiovascular disease, and metabolic syndrome. Her academic research has influenced various local and state policies and been featured in Men’s Health Magazine, USA Today, the BBC News, and on NPR’s Morning Edition, Good Morning America, and the NBC Nightly News. Prior to joining LA Sutherland group, Kiyah served as consultant to national policy and scientific organizations as well as non-governmental organizations and food companies on issues including the use and implementation of USDA dietary databases, conducting policy scans to identify opportunities in the early care and education space, and identifying a scientific evidence-base for FDA labeling claims. Kiyah brings this lens to her work at LA Sutherland group, providing counsel and expertise in research and analytic needs to their clients. Prior to her appointment at Virginia Tech, she was research faculty in the Department of Nutrition at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Kiyah holds a doctoral degree in nutritional epidemiology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a bachelor’s degree in psychology and neuroscience from Bowdoin College, in Brunswick, ME. She is an active member of the Obesity Society, American Society for Nutrition, and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Gary D. Foster, PhD

Weight Watchers International, Inc.

Gary Foster, Ph.D., is the Chief Scientific Officer at Weight Watchers International, Inc.  Foster, a psychologist, obesity investigator and behavior change expert, was previously the Founder and Director of the Center of Obesity Research and Education and Laura Carnell Professor of Medicine, Public Health and Psychology at Temple University in Philadelphia. Prior to Temple, he served as a faculty member at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. He has authored more than 175 scientific publications and three books on the etiology and treatment of obesity. In 2014, Dr. Foster was awarded the George A. Bray Founders Award by The Obesity Society, which recognizes significant contributions to advance the scientific or clinical basis for understanding or treating obesity, and for extensive involvement with the Society.

Dr. Foster's research interests include the prevention, behavioral determinants, treatments, and effects of obesity in adults and children. His current focus is on scalable, evidence based approaches to obesity management. Foster earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Duquesne University, an M.S. in Psychology from University of Pennsylvania, and a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Temple University.

John Glendinning, PhD

Barnard College

John Glendinning studies the physiological mechanisms that control feeding in animals. Most of his projects focus on the contribution of taste to feeding, but he has recently begun to explore the effects of chemosensory feedback from the gut. He obtained his PhD from the University of Florida, and received postdoctoral training at Florida State University and the University of Arizona. He is currently a Professor of Biology at Barnard College, Columbia University.

Rick Mattes, PhD, MPH, RD

Purdue University

Dr. Mattes is a Distinguished Professor of Nutrition Science at Purdue University, Adjunct Associate Professor of Medicine at the Indiana University School of Medicine and Affiliated Scientist at the Monell Chemical Senses Center.  His research focuses on the areas of hunger and satiety, regulation of food intake in humans, food preferences, human cephalic phase responses and taste and smell. At Purdue University, Dr. Mattes is the Director of the University Public Health Program and the Ingestive Behavior Research Center.  He also holds numerous external responsibilities including:  Associate editor of American Journal of Clinical Nutrition; editorial board of Chemosensory Perception, Ear, Nose and Throat Journal and Flavour.  He is also Secretary of the Rose Marie Pangborn Sensory Science Scholarship Fund.  He has received multiple awards, most recently the Babcock-Hart Award from the Institute of Food Technologists.  He has authored over 250 publications.  Dr. Mattes earned an undergraduate degree in biology and a Masters degree in Public Health from the University of Michigan as well as a doctorate degree in Human Nutrition from Cornell University.  He conducted post-doctoral studies at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and the Monell Chemical Senses Center.


Taste receptors and taste preferences—Can we use the mouse model to understand the role non-caloric sweeteners play in human health?
John I. Glendinning, Department of Biology, Barnard College, Columbia University, New York, NY, USA

Non-caloric sweeteners (NCS) are used globally as substitutes for sugar. Their virtue is that they generate a sweet taste without the calories of sugar. NCS represent a chemically diverse group of molecules that (like sugars) bind to the mammalian sweet taste receptor, T1r2+T1r3, and elicit sweet taste. Because T1r2+T1r3 is also expressed in tissues involved in the digestion and post-absorptive processing of sugars, there are concerns that NCS do more than just elicit sweet taste. The mouse has emerged as an important model system for examining the oral and post-oral actions of NCS in humans. This stems in part from the fact that many, but not all, NCS appear to have similar effects on taste and post-oral sugar processing mechanisms in both species. In addition, the availability of lines of mice in which a specific gene has been inactivated, or “knocked-out,” provides researchers with a powerful experimental tool. In this talk, I will initially review what is known about the oral and post-oral effects of NCS in mice and humans. Then, I will discuss new advances from my laboratory. They indicate that the peripheral taste system of mice (a) discriminates between sugars (e.g., glucose and sucrose) and LCS, and (b) generates distinct behavioral and physiological responses to each class of sweetener.

Low calorie sweeteners in context of the whole diet: Effects on reward pathways and body weight
Richard D. Mattes, Mph, PhD, RD, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, USA

Low calorie sweeteners (LCS) offer consumers the opportunity to maintain the sweetness and appeal of their foods and beverages with lower levels of sugar and energy.  They have been used for over 135 years yet issues remain regarding their safety and efficacy for weight management.  Early concerns about potential carcinogenicity have been dispelled to the satisfaction of most, but recent advances in neural imaging technologies, awareness of the potential influence of the gut microbiome and identification of receptors for sweet compounds throughout the body have raised new questions about their biological activity.  Of particular recent interest is the role of LCS in activation of brain reward pathways with implications for ingestive (potentially addictive-type) behaviors.  However, many questions challenge acceptance of such claims.  Similarly, early observations in cell culture and animal models on effects of LCS in the gut have not translated faithfully to human responses.  With respect to efficacy for weight management, reports of numerous clinical trials have been summarized in recent meta-analyses.  While prospective cohort studies reveal a small, but statistically significant positive association between LCS and BMI (not body weight), more scientifically rigorous randomized controlled trials document a significant negative association between LCS use and BMI.  Subsequent to publication of these reviews, findings from large clinical trials indicate LCS are neutral or beneficial for weight loss.  Taken together, the preponderance of evidence indicates LCS are safe and may be a useful tool for weight management if used as a substitute for energy-yielding sweeteners that would have been consumed.

Non-caloric sweeteners in weight loss and weight-loss maintenance when substituted for caloric sweeteners
Gary D Foster, PhD, Weight Watchers International, New York City, New York
Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

There is clear consensus from the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) around the need for Americans to reduce their consumption of added sugars, but there has not been clear guidance on how to do so.  One possibility is to replace sugar sweetened beverages with beverages sweetened with non-caloric sweeteners. While the DGAC and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics have highlighted the benefits of non-caloric sweeteners for short-term weight loss, few long-term data exist.  The purpose of this talk is to review the available evidence on the use of non-caloric sweeteners in the context of a behavioral weight loss program, with an emphasis on a recent randomized controlled trial that examined both short-term (3 month) and long-term (12 month) effects on body weight.

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